Teaching and Learning

Our core purpose

Everything we do must ensure that children achieve really well and progress. Therefore, the teaching that takes place every day must always be focused upon this core purpose.

To help children on their learning journey, we must ensure high levels of consistency in approach and organisation so that no artificial blocks are put in place to stop children from progressing.

The place of planning & assessment

To enable work to be pitched at the right level, so that each child is faced with an achievable challenge in all their work, accurate on-going assessment is vital. Before any lessons can be planned, the class teacher must have a firm grasp of the child’s individual skills, knowledge and understanding. From this, sharply focused planning (both weekly and daily) can occur that will lead to lessons being delivered that are appropriately pitched and with high levels of challenge.

The effectiveness of teachers planning will form part of each term’s review of teaching and learning.

Professional collaboration

High quality teaching and learning will be developed across the whole school when professional collaboration becomes embedded into our culture. This will require teachers and support staff working alongside colleagues in different classes and year groups so that skills, approaches and expertise can be shared and developed.

This approach will also help to develop greater consistency across the whole school.

It is important that the drive for greater collaboration comes from individual teacher’s professional enthusiasm and therefore requires all teaching staff to be proactive. Testing out ideas that have been derived from research, both nationally and internationally, would be a strong indicator of developing professional practice and a developing professional culture.

What does high quality teaching and learning look like?

During our discussions as a teaching workforce, we highlighted how you could identify effective teaching and learning by what you would see as daily practice within classrooms. The following are some key attributes:

  • Active teaching – driving the learning forward with passion
  • Engagement by pupils – fully  involved in their learning in the classroom, through discussion, challenging activities etc. not passive
  • Pace – lessons have a momentum that makes it apparent that learning goals will be met
  • Good pitch to the lesson – the lesson is pitched to a national curriculum level that challenges all children
  • Well differentiated activities and lessons
  • Children able to articulate what they need to do to move forward to the next step in their learning due to an on-going dialogue with their teacher and through highly effective feedback
  • Well organised and vibrant classrooms with high quality children’s work on display
  • Children demonstrating the skills of independent learning – able to use and take care of a range of resources, able to organise themselves, able to manage time effectively within lessons
  • Good behaviour and clear behaviour management systems that are clearly understood and used by children
  • The work every child is given is challenging yet achievable and the children demonstrate pride in this work by presenting it well and taking care of it in all its produced forms

This is not an exhaustive list but provides some examples of the visual manifestations of effective practice.

Monitoring and evaluating quality

At Sayes Court School we have a very robust cycle of monitoring and evaluation activities.

Regularly the SLT (Strategic Leadership Team) carry out a range of actions that ensure the following;

  • we know our school very well
  • that we can swiftly identify any aspect of the school that needs development / improvement and put actions into place to ensure this happens
  • ensure that all children are provided with the tools to enable them to realise their full potential

The half termly cycle of monitoring & evaluation is as follows;

  • Assessment Data- is handed to the assessment team each half term but formative assessment is embedded into daily teaching
  • Pupil Progress Meetings (PPMs) - the teachers meet with the Head, Deputy Head) and SENCO. At this meeting class data is scrutinised to identify any individual children who are not making the progress that they should. Actions to address these issues are discussed and agreed and are then subsequently assessed for impact at the next PPM
  • Parent Consultation evenings
  • Termly teaching and learning reviews- all teachers are observed teaching and are provided with verbal & written feedback about areas of strength in their teaching and areas needing improvement. If necessary, support from colleagues will be provided to model effective teaching & learning approaches. Children's books are also scrutinised to ensure;
    • that the school marking and feedback policy is being followed and is leading to improved pupil outcomes
    • that all children are being presented with an achievable challenge in their work
    • that the quality of presentation is high
    • that teachers expectations of all pupils is high

The SLT also conduct daily 'learning walks' which involves visiting every class to assess the quality of the learning environment created by each teacher in the school. All teachers receive a written summary of the findings from both the book scrutiny and learning walk with identified key areas for improvement highlighted.